I’m live on iTunes this morning!
I’m live on iTunes this morning!
I’m live on iTunes this morning!
Yes, it is finally here… about 30 years of violin playing in the making…
My first released ALBUM! This is all solo violin, with my computer processing the audio and recording phrases so I can do live real-time orchestrations.
You can listen for free, or donate $5 or more to download the whole album, or buy the physical CD by contacting me, or ping me and I’ll send you a CD for free (I have enough to give them away!) I’m hoping about 10% of people will buy or donate, which will cover my reproduction costs.
I always wanted to be a lead guitarist and rock star! This original piece imitates an electric guitar with a distortion effect produced entirely on the violin through bow placement, similar to what string players call ponticello. View it here: http://youtu.be/cl79zelhEfg .
As usual with what I call “digital acoustic,” this entire piece is a single pass-through, created live only on an acoustic violin. The digital part is that as each violin part is performed, I use foot pedals and a computer to record and play back (similar to ‘looping’) each part. This version layers about 5 parts, with liberal improvisation and harmony parts interspersed. By having complete control over each parts I can build up the orchestration behind my improvisations, and create changes in energy level exactly the way I want.
Remember, nothing is pre-recorded before I begin. The pizzicato is transposed down 2 octaves by the computer to create the bass lines. Hopefully the end result captures the spirit of screaming guitar solos!
The video camera work is done by my wife Melissa. I think she did a great job capturing the ‘musicians’ view, where you see the nice close-ups of the bow, fingers and foot work. Enjoy!
I’ve posted a new video of my version of the Irish fiddle tune Drowsy Maggie: http://youtu.be/6z2UI1o4gkY. It’s a well-known piece, even used at one point in the movie Titanic.
This entire piece is a single pass-through, created live only on an acoustic violin. The violin parts are performed live, recorded and played back (similar to looping), but I’ve programmed the foot pedals to give me complete control over each track, up to 16 simultaneously. This enables me to create and improvise musical form and orchestration, which I find more satisfying than the typical looping.
My wife Melissa did the camera work, with a colorful setup with the lights. I edited the video. I hope you like it!
A new piece: Not for the Faint (of heart). This piece is my most ambitious to date, over 8 minutes, and by the end it has 9 simultaneous tracks going.
[Edit: remixed on July 3 and posted]
I do a classic composition technique to build energy, so by the end I layer the B section tracks (selecting them one at a time) over the A section, underneath a ‘crazy fiddler’ improvisation.
As always for my ‘Digital Acoustic Violin’, all sounds are created on the violin. In this case, the piece opens with strumming processed to sound like a bubbly, underwatery groove. The bass line is violin pizzicato put down 2 octaves digitally. (If you listen carefully, you’ll hear it in the correct octave, live, before I put it down into bass range on its first loop.)
I play this piece live with all the parts recorded and played-back with a foot controller to enable/record/playback each of the tracks.
I hope you enjoy it!
As I practiced up for the Peru Fundraiser Concerts, I recorded a better version of Rollin’. Here it is:
A bit of explanation: This is my wanna-be guitarist piece. I start with the violin in my lap strumming it like a guitar. As with all my “Digital Acoustic Violin” pieces, all the sounds are created on the violin, with no effects except reverb (and a bit of delay), so the fed-back guitar sound is produced just with the bow on an acoustic violin – think of it as Hendrix on an acoustic violin!
This is a SINGLE pass (no overdubs)… start to finish, with all the parts recorded and played-back with a foot controller to enable/record/playback each of the tracks.
Someday I’ll do a YouTube version so you can see how it is all produced, or attend one of my fundraisers!
I’m performing for my son’s Peru Fundraiser on June 12th at the Mayes-Smith home in Sparks, Nevada. Here’s the flyer… Additional information: To hear some samples of music, visit my Music Downloads page. To get tickets or make reservations online, click here: http://marshworksreno.eventbrite.com. Please feel free to pay at the door or pay Denali in person and save yourself credit card processing fees of about 5%. Come one, come all: please don’t let the suggested donation keep you and your family from attending, there is no minimum, but we do need a count, and space is limited, so please do register at that site or via email (see above) or phone (530 368-2979).
I’m performing for my son’s Peru Fundraiser on May 6th at the Granite Bay Country Club in Granite Bay, near Sacramento.
Here’s the flyer… click here for a better-quality pdf.
To hear some samples of music, visit my Music Downloads page.
To get tickets or make reservations online, click here: http://marshworks.eventbrite.com. Please feel free to pay at the door or pay Denali in person and save yourself credit card processing fees of about 5%. Come one, come all: please don’t let the suggested donation keep you and your family from attending, there is no minimum, but we do need a count, and space is limited, so please do register at that site or via email (see above) or phone (530 368-2979).
I heard a blow-away great concert by one of the greatest fiddler-innovators ever, Darol Anger. His violin playing was a huge inspiration to me in high school (okay… so it was a long time ago…), so much so that my wife when she hears him play, says, “he sounds like you.” I always correct her and say that no, I sound like him, after years of imitating him.
Anyway, his ability to make a violin groove, with chops and rhythmic parts is still great all this time later. I came home and had to finish working up a song, a happy-go-lucky tune I’m calling Rollin’ for lack of a better name.
[Edit: Download removed… see more recent version]
7 tracks A section, 4 tracks B section, all live, single pass. I’m switching back and forth between microphone and pickup, and throw a chorus on the melody. It gets me closer to a distortion guitar sound without going all the way there. The ‘feedback’ sound at the end of along note is produced by playing very close to the bridge. Classical violinists call it ponticello, but I use the effect as though I was a screaming guitar. And the bass, as in many of my pieces, is played first at normal range, and then dropped down 2 octaves when the loop repeats.
The performance isn’t quite where I want it, so I’ll post another version before long.
[Edit: remixed the piece on April 4]
[Edit: re-recorded the piece on June 11 and posted]
Many people have tried to modernize Bach, perhaps by adding a rock beat, synthesizer, or distortion guitar to classic Bach pieces. I have a different idea in mind, though.
I want to keep the feel as I think Bach intended, but still apply many of his musical sensibilities to current technology and style. He obviously reveled in the power of the violin as an instrument, so I am staying the the ‘acoustic’ instrument as the source of everything you hear. Bach liked to build chordal progressions though single-note instrument lines, which I’ve enhanced with a beat-synchronized delay, to bring out the harmony without losing the line.
And particularly, Bach liked to improvise, and all the melodic lines in this piece are improvised (full disclosure… I predetermined my first few notes, referencing Piu Jesu). So here’s my Preludium, based on Bach’s Prelude I from from Well Tempered Clavier:
( right-click here to download, touch to hear on iPhone/iPad)
This consists of 4 tracks, one pizzicato track and three improvised violin tracks, where I tried to remember prior tracks in order to harmonize or build counterpoint lines. And once again, this is performed live in a single pass, no edits, with footpedals controlling the record/playback of each track.
Sorry this is two slow pieces in a row… the next one will be more upbeat!